Quick Reaction: Heat 121, Raptors 110

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Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON- OCTOBER 30 - Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) calls a defence as the Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 1125-113 in NBA action at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. October 30, 2019. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MIA Heat 121 Final
Box Score
110 TOR Raptors

O. Anunoby21 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

Anunoby was fine tonight, but his primary assignment Jimmy Butler had it his way for most of the night. Although Butler didn’t score all that much until overtime, he was constantly using picks to get by Anunoby and making the right read.
OG had a tough time defending Butler but he wasn’t bad, Powell just took his minutes to close out the game.

P. Siakam39 MIN, 15 PTS, 12 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-14 FG, 0-2 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -15 +/-

A -15 on the night, it was an unusual game for Siakam. He sometimes has trouble when athletic big men defend him, and that was the case tonight as Bam Adebayo did a good job locking him down (with help).
Sometimes the shot isn’t going to fall for Siakam, which was the case tonight, but he also wasn’t his usual presence on defense tonight and had an uncharacteristically quiet second half.

M. Gasol33 MIN, 14 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-6 3FG, 2-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -6 +/-

Gasol shot the ball really well but struggled a bit on the boards and allowed Adebayo to find space in the paint, especially early in the game where Adebayo had a few open looks from the free-throw line.
It seems like Nurse is sticking to Gasol to close out games, which makes sense given how good he is defensively, but I thought Ibaka was the better big man tonight and was a deserving option for more minutes down the stretch.

K. Lowry41 MIN, 12 PTS, 6 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 2-18 FG, 0-11 3FG, 8-8 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -14 +/-

I love Lowry as much as the next guy, and we can talk about the little things he does all we want, but 2-18 from the field and 0-11 from three ain’t gonna cut it Neither is an uncharacteristic -14 on the night.
Lowry did turn it up in the fourth quarter, scoring six made free-throws and five assists in the frame, but his rust was evident tonight.

F. VanVleet43 MIN, 19 PTS, 1 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 5-16 FG, 3-9 3FG, 6-7 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -15 +/-

VanVleet was fine tonight, and he was one of the Raptors’ more reliable options from behind the arc, but we have come to expect greatness of VanVleet, and he wasn’t his best self against the Heat.
Still, a game-high 43 minutes proves that Nurse trusted VanVleet more than any Raptor, and it is because he consistently shows up on the defensive end and can run the offense or play off the ball.

N. Powell34 MIN, 23 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 8-14 FG, 4-8 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Powell returned to the bench against the Heat after starting 12 straight games with Lowry out of the lineup, and he picked up right where he left off.
Powell was the Raptors most reliable shooter, and it’s clear his teammates are beginning to really trust him in spot-up situations. He was the main reason the Raptors got to OT with 13 points in the fourth quarter.

S. Ibaka22 MIN, 13 PTS, 9 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -4 +/-

In his second game back from returning from injury, Ibaka looks like he has shaken off all the rust.
He was excellent all night, being a big presence on the defensive end with nine rebounds and two blocks in just 22 minutes. He was also working the pick-and-roll with Lowry and directing traffic on offence more than usual.
He is likely on a minutes-limit after recently returning from injury, because he deserved more.

R. Hollis-Jefferson17 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -3 +/-

Rondae wasn’t able to out-hustle the Heat tonight, which is a credit to the Heat for playing a really hard game.

T. Davis15 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

Davis missed a couple of good looks from behind the arc, but he had one absolute dime to Hollis-Jefferson and flashes his potential constantly.

Nick Nurse

Nurse stuck to a pretty traditional rotation besides closing the game with Powell instead of Anunoby, which was a good call considering how clunky the Raptors offense was all night and how well Powell was playing.
Overall, though, the Raptors were unimpressive on both ends and part of that falls on Nurse despite it being expected after reintroducing two key players.

Things We Saw

  1. Jimmy Butler was the best player on the floor for most of the game. He was having his way with the Raptors defense all night, maneuvering around screens and finding the open man before he took over in overtime with eight-straight points.
    He is putting up modest numbers this season, so the media isn’t speaking his name very much, but Butler is making winning plays and adjusting to being the No. 1 option/having his own team very smoothly.
  2. I’m expecting a bounce-back night for Siakam against the Rockets on Thursday, because that was an uncharacteristically poor night for him. He just didn’t seem to have the same energy he usually brings to the table, and he has talked about how he plays best when he is engaged on both sides of the floor.
  3. That was just a weird game.
    The Raptors were unimpressive on both ends and part of that can be chalked up to the fact that Lowry and Ibaka are still being reintroduced to the rotation, but they can and should absolutely be better.
    Give credit to the Heat, though, who executed their game plan and had the best player on the floor.

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